CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The bill that would allow homeschoolers to play sports at public schools in West Virginia has been dealt a major setback. The House Education Committee Wednesday rejected HB 4007 by a 16-9 vote.
A similar bill is still under consideration in the Senate. SB 130 has passed the Senate Education Committee and is now in Finance. However, the overwhelming failure in the House committee significantly diminishes chances for passage.
That’s a change from last year when the so-called Tim Tebow bill cleared both chambers, but was vetoed without comment by Governor Jim Justice, who coaches the Greenbrier East Girls High School basketball team.
Tebow was a homeschooled student in Florida, but was allowed to participate in sports. He went on to win the Heisman Trophy.
At least 34 states allow homeschoolers to play sports at the public schools.
The State Secondary School Activities Commission, which oversees sports, opposed the bill.
“Every time you bring a kid from outside, you’re going to displace a kid who comes to school every day,” said Executive Director Bernie Dolan.
Homeschool organizations are pushing the bill. They argued that since they pay property taxes that support the schools and agree their children will meet the same academic standards that they should be allowed to participate.